Curiosities

Gomes Teixeira – The mathematician who could have been a priest
15 October, 2018 / , , ,

Gomes Teixeira, illustrious mathematician who would become the first rector of the University of Porto, only did not study Theology by mere chance.

Born in January 1851 in Armamar, he was soon distinguished by his intelligence and good grades obtained in all subjects. At that time, it was common for boys with good schooling to be referred to the Seminary, but the young man was also brilliant at Mathematics. Thus, when it was time to go to university, the family decided that it would be the good fortune to decide between Theology and Mathematics.

Luck dictated Mathematics and since he arrived at the University of Coimbra, Francisco Gomes Teixeira stood out by the maximum notes obtained. At the age of 20 he published his first work and in 1874 he finished the course with a grade of 20 values. Such a brilliant academic course would, naturally, have to lead him to a teaching career. He excelled at the University of Coimbra and at the Polytechnic Academy of Porto, which he would eventually direct.

In 1911 the University of Porto was founded and Gomes Teixeira was chosen to be its first rector. He died in Porto in 1933. After his death, three busts were made in bronze, later placed in his native land at the University of Porto and at the University of Coimbra.

Source: O Tripeiro 7ª Série Ano XIX nº1 e 7ª Série Ano XXX, Número 12

The Siege of Porto
14 September, 2018 / , ,

It was 13 months that marked the city forever. The Siege of Porto lasted from July of 1832 to August of the following year, but its memory remains in the toponymy and the soul of the city.

The city will always be marked by the months in which it was surrounded: in addition to material damages and loss of human life, this period of history gave Porto the title of  “antiga, Mui Nobre, Sempre Leal e Invicta Cidade do Porto” (old, very noble, always loyal and invicta Porto) attributed by D. Pedro as a form of gratitude for the loyalty and courage with which the Porto residents defended the liberal cause. The king would even offer his heart to the city as a form of giving thanks.

“Bairro do Cerco do Porto”, “Rua do Heroísmo” (Heroism, in memory of a bloody battle that took place there) or “Rua da Firmeza” (Firmness) are names that perpetuate “the dignity and resignation with which the Porto residents valiantly resisted”. They evoke this time and a war between two brothers with opposing convictions.

Porto never accepted the ascendancy of the absolutist D. Miguel to power (1828) and when D. Pedro took command of the Liberal movement, he found in the people of the city a powerful ally. On July 8, 1832, D. Pedro, coming from the Azores, disembarked in Pampelido (Mindelo) to take the city of Porto, arriving at the present Praça da Liberdade at noon. D. Miguel’s troops had been moved to Lisbon so the Liberals had no difficulty entering the city. The next day, the absolutist army, coming from the south, settled in the Serra do Pilar, on the other side of the river, to bombard the city and expel the Liberals. Thus begins the siege: D. Pedro’s supporters remain in the port, surrounded. Food and essential goods became scarce and, as the situation got worse, cholera and typhus became opponents of those fighting for the liberal cause.

In June 1833, the Liberals altered the strategy and resolved to attack from the Algarve. The absolutist troops, convinced that the adversary was weakened, decide to launch a great attack on the Port but end up being defeated. On the 26th July, the Liberals occupied Lisbon but Porto remained surrounded. On the 18th August, under the command of Marechal Saldanha, the Liberal army obtained a decisive victory that two days later lead the supporters of D. Miguel to retreat. The Siege of Porto was finished.

The metro station that is a museum
14 September, 2018 / ,

The metro station Campo 24 de Agosto keeps a real treasure: the ruins of a reservoir of water that existed there.

Besides being designed by the renowned Portuguese architect Souto Moura, this station in the center of the city has other reasons for its significance: it accommodates the archaeological traces of a reservoir that supplied the existent fountain. In the nineteenth century, the river that flowed there was buried along with the bridge that crossed it. Over time, and with the urbanization of the surrounding area, which was formerly rural, the memory of this past was forgotten until progress recovered that memory.

During the construction of the underground station, at the beginning of this century, what was left of the old reservoir was discovered along with other objects, including shoe soles, Portuguese ceramics, Italian glass or Chinese porcelain. To preserve these memories, the ruins were dismantled and then rebuilt in the place where they can be visited today, accompanied by explanations that contextualize the importance of these remains.

The two images of Senhora da Luz
13 August, 2018 / , ,

Before the lighthouse of São Miguel, which was built in 1758 in Foz, there was a chapel dedicated to Senhora da Luz.

According to some studies, in prehistoric times that place would have a special meaning, as evidenced by marks made on rocks. The reference to Senhora da Luz (“Lady of Light”) and its chapel already emerges in 1680. It would be a simple construction, but of great importance for fishermen and sailors.

Bombarded during the liberal wars, the chapel would be destroyed but from its interior, an altar was spared with the image that is today in the Church of São João da Foz do Douro. This image of “Our Lady” invokes the light, so essential for those who sailed the seas. Framed by gilded carving and adorned with images of angels, the “Lady of Light” is still adored today.

In the same church, there is still another image representing Our Lady with Jesus on his lap, measuring 30 cm high and made in ivory. Despite its small size, it stands out for the rarity and beauty of its details, as it is decorated with a mantle embroidered with gold and colored stones. The image was intended to be carried and kissed by its faithful followers on festive days.

Source: O Tripeiro 7th Series, Year XV issue 9 September 1996
A memorial made of wreckage
13 August, 2018 / ,

 

In the Agramonte Cemetery, in the Boavista area, a gigantic ark filled with burnt and twisted irons, reminds us of one of the city’s greatest tragedies.

On the night of March 20, 1888, a violent fire completely destroyed the Teatro Baquet, a building with two entrances (Rua de Sá da Bandeira and Rua de Santo António, currently Rua 31 de janeiro). That fateful night, the room was full and on stage comic opera was on. During a change of scenery, one of the cloths touched the flame of gaslight. Due to the materials, the antiquity of the building and the lack of a security plan, fire has spread rapidly and 120 people died in this tragedy.

The fire led to the redress of security in all the rooms of the city and, so that such misfortune was never forgotten, a memorial was made in the Cemetery of Agramonte. The mausoleum, which still intrigues people who do not know this episode of the history of the city, was made with pieces of iron and has on top a large crown of martyrs, also in iron.

Procession of the paper costume in Foz do Douro
9 August, 2018 / , , , ,

 

From mid-June to mid-September, the União de Freguesias (Union of Parishes) of Aldoar, Foz do Douro and Nevogilde, host the São Bartolomeu parties – a group of activities that liven up the streets and unite populations and visitors.

The procession of the Paper Costume is admittedly the most awaited moment of the festivities, with a history that has already surpassed 100 years and that in the last decade has gained special notoriety in the city.

 

These are months of work and preparation, with a permanent focus on roots, history and stories of the region. The 2nd French Invasion of 1809 and the Liberation of the City of Porto is the theme for the Paper Costume Contest in 2018, which will take place on August 26. There are meters and meters of paper, surgically worked by dedicated hands that keep this festive moment in the city alive.

This year’s edition has 350 extras, from gatherings and associations of the União de Freguesias, who will join the remaining hundreds who visit Foz do Douro to live this unique experience.

The current format is now 75 years old and integrates a route that seeks to reach the main centers of the history of Foz do Douro. The costumes parade begins at 10:30 am and goes through the Cantareira, rich in its fishing tradition.

After the inevitable passage through the charismatic Jardim do Passeio Alegre, a favourite amongst many intellectuals who fill the culture of Foz do Douro and Oporto, the procession continues to Ourigo Beach where the sea baths take place, one of the most noticeable traditions at the São Bartolomeu parties.

These baths are filled with tradition and folktales. Also known as “holy baths”, these dives in the waters of the Atlantic – seven, as tradition says – are a way of thanking São Bartolomeu’s favors in the last year and for banishing malaria over the next twelve months.

The participants of this year’s edition come from Bloco da União de Freguesias de Aldoar, Foz do Douro e Nevogilde, Associação de Moradores do Bairro Social da Pasteleira – Previdência, Associação de Moradores do Bairro Social de Aldoar and Orfeão da Foz do Douro.

People from all different backgrounds and spaces join in this tradition, showing that the city is made of all and with all even in the most popular of its traditions.

The traditional barber shops in Porto
20 July, 2018 / , , ,

These are nine of the traditional barbershops in the city of Porto and all are located between the Hospital Santo António and the São Bento Station.

Also traditional is the decoration of these barbershops, with iron armchairs and brass instruments capable of withstanding decades of use. Professionals also follow this longevity: many are elderly gentlemen with weather-discolored hair and clever fingers wrapped in wrinkles.

  • Barbearia Porto: It was born in 1946 but from that date only the chairs and a shoebox are left. The new owners brought in the rest of the vintage decor. It is two steps from the Avenida dos Aliados.
  • Barbearia Garrett: Since 1979 in the hands of Acácio Branco, this barbershop is just a few meters from the Porto City Hall. With an old-fashioned décor, this establishment only has male guests.
  • Oficina do Cabelo: Formerly known as Tinoco, reopened under this name. From 1929 it maintains the marble washbasins, iron chairs, huge mirrors and floor covered with fan mosaics. It is now considered part of Porto’s heritage.
  • Barbearia Santo António: It is not much bigger than a corridor, but it brings a lot of history in the hands of António Cardoso. There are more than 50 years of cuts at the beginning of Rua 31 de Janeiro.
  • Barbearia Norton: In this barbershop, in the Batalha area, we talk about everything and keep alive the tradition of the neighbourhood barber with leather chairs, beard brush and razors.
  • Salão Veneza: It is almost 90 years old and more than 70 years as a barbershop. Some of the most unforgettable characters of our history have already sat in these red armchairs.
  • Barbearia Sport: It was in 1942 that this barbershop settled in Porto. It happened in an era where one would spend more time embellishing their moustache than cutting hair.
  • Barbearia Invicta: Aventino Silva has been in this barbershop since the age of 10 and despite the arrival of the blades, he has not lost clients.
  • Barbearia Orlando: It already has two spaces in Porto but it is in the Rua Álvaro Castelões that the tradition, the customers and the conversations are kept on point.

Source: “Os bigodes à antiga e a arte de os fazer bem feitos” – Prova de Aptidão Artística (Artistic aptitude test) by Edgar Duarte (Escola Artística Soares dos Reis)

The fountain that changed location
20 July, 2018 /

The Fonte das Oliveiras was not always at Largo Alberto Pimentel.

The fountain was built in 1718 to make use of the waters of the springs that existed near the Rua das Oliveiras. In 1823, when the waters of the aqueduct of Paranhos were diverted, the source underwent a small remodelling. The fact that it was much sought after and that people occupied the streets while they waited to fill their jugs, influenced the decision to move it to a quieter place.

In 1866 it was dismantled and would be rebuilt in 1879 in the Largo Alberto Pimentel, where it is still present. It is set against a nineteenth-century building, with its facade tiled. In 1941 it was cleaned and restored.

The fountain is composed of a back and a central pillar. The only decoration is a shell that surrounds a dolphin, which works as a spout. The tank is also quite simple.

The Guindais elevator
16 July, 2018 / , ,

Today, we have a funicular but at the end of the 19th century an elevator made the route between the Batalha and the Guindais Pier. Inaugurated on June 4, 1891, it suffered, two years later, an accident that forced it to shut down for more than 100 years.

The lift emerged to link the Guindais Pier, where the boats came with food, and the Batalha which, by its central location, was a point of distribution of these products to other parts of the city. The difference between the highest and the lowest point was 75 meters but there were two different slope levels (7% and 47%). The Porto engineer Raul Mesnier made the project and the works began in 1889. The Guindais quarry was dismantled, the lift built and, after several tests, inaugurated in June 1891.

Transportation was made by three cars – one of balance and two main ones, with 5.6 meters of length and capacity for 40 people. In the central part of these cars there were luxury compartments, with rugs, upholstered seats and blinds. The trips were running every five minutes and cost 40 kings, but the huge investment needed to build and maintain the lift has never been offset by revenue. In 1893, an accident – with only material damages – dictated its closure. The current funicular was inaugurated in 2004.

Source: O Tripeiro 7ª série Ano XXII nº 3 March 2003

The windows of Porto
6 June, 2018 / ,

They function as a way to enjoy the landscape but they are also part of the landscape. When viewed from the outside, they may surprise you by their beauty, originality and artwork.

Surrounded by tiles, hidden by iron balconies and flower pots or opening onto the narrow streets, the windows of Porto have a charm that only a quiet and time-consuming walk can fully apprehend. Noble palaces, large houses of the bourgeoisie of centuries past, and smaller and humble houses all have in common their windows which are also a testimony of the everyday life of different times. They served to see who passed, to talk to neighbors and even to date.

Nowadays, the windows of Porto are another excuse to discover corners of the city, as did the author of the page Porto to Penantes, who shared with the readers of Hey Porto some of the photographs that illustrate the beauty of these architectural elements.

facebook.com/PortoaPenantes/